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ARCPanel – fast and easy to use tool to create luminosity masks and post-processing effects

ARCPanel – fast and easy to use tool to create luminosity masks and post-processing effects


Panel consists of 2 tabs – Mask and Enhance.

Mask tab allows you to preview, generate, refine and apply many kinds of luminosity and saturation masks.

You can preview any mask by hovering over buttons.

Start by picking a source for future mask by selecting between Luminosity, Red, Green and Blue channels, or Saturation. For example, selecting Saturation as a source and clicking on Lights-2 will build mask for light saturated colors. If no source is selected Luminosity is used by default.

6 Dark, 6 Middlerange and 6 Light luminosity masks are available.

11 Zones correspond to Ansel Adams zones.
Gradient provides you a hint on which part of the luminosity range will be selected.

Example workflow for Mask tab is:
- Select a source you would like to use
- Hover over masks or zones until you like the preview
- Click on the button to generate a mask
- Hover to compare until you are satisfied
- In the Refine section, use Levels, Curves or Inversion to refine the mask, if necessary
- Apply generated mask to a new Level or Curve adjustment layer, show mask as a selection, replace existing layer mask or create any other adjustment layer

Enhance tab provides a set of widely used refinement tools

- Frequency Separation is a technique mostly used in portraits post-processing. It's main idea is to separate texture from color. You can apply Frequency Separation to smoothen human skin in portraits or fix lens flares in landscapes

- Orton Effect is a nice technique coming to photography from the filmmaking. It adds a nice soft glow to the image, resulting in a light surreal effect. Panel provides 2 ways to generate Orton Effect, with additional option to preserve darks.

- Dodging and Burning is a main way to post-process images. This technique comes from film days and dark room and is about darkening and brightening image parts. Panel provides 5 ways to Dodge and Burn:
- 50% grey layers
- Bright and dark curves
- With Frequency Separation to preserve details
- Automated, via Blend-If
- Rasterized version of automated version for extra effects



Panel is updated to version 1.1.

In the release:
- panel now opens up much faster
- small visual changes
- Solar Curve was added to the Tools section
- Frequency Separation gotten much more powerful

You can now build Frequency Separation based on Surface blur and, additionally, extra layers for processing will be auto-generated, along with a hidden Texture Boost layer that can help a lot when working with skin texture.
Also you can now enable auto-selection of a Mixer brush, if you like to use that tool for Frequency Separation.
Portrait photographers and retouchers should be happy now =)

Website was also updated significantly.
There is a new Lessons section now available, showcasing latest videos and links to other photographers talking about ARCPanel.

After every feature section there is now a short video, showing how that feature works exactly.
And if you wonder what Solar Curve is – check out the video on the website =)

In Adobe Photoshop, select in the menu Window -> Extensions and enable ARCMask and/or ARCEnhance